Tween and Teenagers
Teaching You to Drive is Driving Me Crazy
Teen males are at higher risk of motor vehicle crashes. According to the CDC, the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 15 to 19 was almost two times that of females.
In New York state 16 ½ year olds who have obtained their junior license are allowed a single non-family member in the car with them. Nearby Connecticut allows no non-family members, deeming them a distraction. The facts however are very interesting.
When a male passenger was in the car, 25% of drivers (male & female) exceeded the speed limit by 15 mph or more, versus about 6-7% of drivers doing this when there were no passengers or a female passenger.
Are we having the typical experience? Are boys really that much more daring and therefore a risk to themselves and others? Is their over-confidence and fearlessness in the face of speed the huge danger that we think it is?
According to a 2012 study by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute: With peer passengers in the car, male teen drivers were almost six times more likely to perform an illegal maneuver and twice more likely to act aggressively before crashing than when driving alone. Conversely, female teen drivers rarely drove aggressively before crashing, regardless of the presence of peer passengers.
The scariest moment isn’t when you first get behind the wheel with your newly permitted teen, or the time you have to shout, “you were not looking, you did not see that,” but rather the moment you watch them drive away. For them it is an unprecedented taste of freedom, only akin to learning to walk in its powers to liberate, but for parents it is the beginning of an unprecedented period of worry, and it turns out with good reason.
This is not to say that female teen drivers do not still face very large crash risks. The crash risk for both male and female teen drivers is highest for the first six to twelve months after they get their GDL restricted license, when they can start driving without parents in the car.